Reading non fiction texts-questions

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The question on identifying presentational devices

A hand writing the start of an essay (http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/english/images/re_writingcoursework.jpg)

The second question relates to the way the text looks. To get all the marks on this question you need to do two things:

  1. List the presentational devices the text uses.
  2. Explain why these devices are used and what effect they have.

To answer the first part of the question you need be able to recognise presentational devices such as:

  • Headings (titles) and sub-headings
  • Photos
  • Pictures
  • Illustrations
  • Font size and style (bold, italic etc)
  • Colour
  • Layout features (bullets, boxed text)
  • Structure (short or long paragraphs)
  • Quotations (things people said either in quotation marks or highlighted in the text)

A good way of revising is to analyse any text you see or read. Pick up a magazine and look at a page at random. You should be able to spot a whole range of devices being used.

Why presentational devices are used

The devices used depend on:

  • Purpose - what the text is trying to do (eg inform, advise, persuade).
  • Audience - who it is trying to talk to (eg children, adults, men, women).

Choices in layout…

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